Whitworth Senior Scholarship Awards 

The Whitworth Senior Scholarship Awards were established to offer an enhanced level of financial reward for postgraduate research.

The awards are to assist engineers who are intending to do research and are planning to embark on postgraduate degree study for a PhD or EngD degree.

Sir Joseph Whitworth and Whitworth Scholars

In 1868 Sir Joseph Whitworth founded these engineering scholarships associated in his name, under the trusteeship of the minister of public instruction. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers the present trustee offers scholarship awards from the Whitworth Scholarship Trust Fund for the length of an engineering degree level programme; in the case of part-time study the scholarship award is provided on a pro-rata basis.

At the satisfactory completion of the degree level programme, each award holder will be in titled to use the title Whitworth Scholar with designatory letters 'WhSch'. The title has been borne by many distinguished engineers including 13 Presidents of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  Consequently, the prestige of the award is extremely high. It marks young engineers who are expected to be high achievers in their subsequent careers.


The Whitworth Senior Scholarship Awards for postgraduate research leading to a PhD or EngD are offered in competition to outstanding engineers who:

  • Is a British, Commonwealth or European Union citizen.
  • Have been resident in the UK for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to undertaking study in the UK at a College of FE/HE or university.
  • Has recently graduated with an engineering degree and have pursued a vocational route in an engineering discipline typically for at least two years after having left full-time education and before entering a degree-level engineering course.
  • Has obtained or will obtain admission to, or have already commenced, a postgraduate research degree programme.

Award conditions

  • Only one Whitworth Senior Scholarship award can be granted to an individual.
  • Interviews are mandatory for all short-listed candidates.
  • The Award may be held concurrently with other forms of financial support (except with any other Whitworth Award).
  • An annual research report that has been reviewed and approved by a member of the Whitworth Awards panel is required to continue the award each year, including
  • Progress reports will be required annually, and award holders will be notified of the form they should take. An unsatisfactory report could lead to termination of the award. The final instalment of the award is dependent on receipt of the successful defence of the thesis and award of the PhD/EngD.

Award criteria

  • The Whitworth Awards panel is looking for outstanding young engineers who would justify consideration for one of the awards offered annually in the United Kingdom.
  • Candidates are expected to display academic excellence and practical ability together with the personal qualities needed to achieve success in industry.
  • Particular attention is paid to each candidate record in practical engineering at school/college and the employing organisation.
  • The Senior Scholarships Awards are intended to support research activity. The full award will usually be made to a successful candidate who proposes to undertake full-time research as a university as a research student.
  • Candidates who propose undertaking part time still research based at a university may still apply, but the panel will expect that the time to be spent at the university will be substantial. The award value would be adjusted to reflect the proportion of time spent at the university.

Value of award

  • Up to £15,000 p.a. for full-time research for a maximum period of three years and from £4,500 p.a. for part-time researchers.
  • The Whitworth Senior Scholarship Award will not exceed a total of £45,000 for any individual.
  • At completion of the programme of research the panel will consider the candidates overall achievements. If the panel approves the Senior Scholarship award holder will receive a certificate and medal and be in titled to use the title ‘Whitworth Senior Scholar’ with the designatory letters 'WhSch'.
  • Payments are made termly to each award holder as soon as possible after the beginning of each term.

Application process

Closing date: 31 July 2024

  • Candidates are required to complete an individual detailed application form, outlining their experiences, career to date and short description of their proposed research activity. This is downloaded, completed and returned as a separate document.
  • Whitworth scholars will not need to repeat information relating to training and undergraduate experience which is already documented by the IMechE, nor will they would need to repeat previous references from their company or organisation where practical training was obtained.
  • Other candidates will need supporting references from a senior representative of the company organisation where practical training was obtained.
  • The research program must be supported by a reference from the proposed research supervisor and if appropriate from a sponsoring company. 


  • A candidate who is about to start a degree level programme will be asked to supply the names of two referees who must be able and willing to vouch for their theoretical and practical training and suitability for the award.
  • One referee should be a senior member of staff from the candidates school or college and the other senior representative of the engineering organisation where practical engineering experience was obtained.
  • Candidates are required to forward the reference request forms to their chosen referees, with a copy of their completed application. Referees are asked to submit their reference to panda@imeche.org by 5 August.


  • Interviews are mandatory for shortlisted candidates.
  • The Institution will notify candidates of the decision of the Whitworth Awards panel which meets in early August to determine the shortlist of candidates.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview in London in mid-August following the closing date.
  • The final decisions on the Senior Scholarship Awards are usually communicated to candidates during the week following the interviews.

To apply

Download the application form and the 2 reference request forms:

Once the application is complete, candidates should:

  • Forward a copy to their chosen referees with the reference request form, asking their referees to submit their reference to panda@imeche.org by 5 August
  • Email a copy to panda@imeche.org by 31 July.

Further information

Award winners

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